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Argument: Capitalism is destroying the global ecosystem

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Anyone familiar with recent history will know that our species is fast becoming suicidal. This is directly related to capitalism and it's need to continuously grow, in which shareholders require a greater and greater return on their investments. In general, this places larger and larger strains on the natural environment, as it means that more and more resources are being used to supply more and more products and services to each per person on the planet. And environmental costs are externalised in capitalist pricing (they affect a third party) and so it is economically efficient to ignore them, and economically necessary in order to keep maximum profits. To take a recent example, the UN has estimated that the damage caused to the environment by the 3,000 biggest companies would cost $2.2 trillion to clean up (they have been able to do it since environmental damage is a negative externality and so is grossly underpriced, and in most cases free, and it is so expensive to clean up the damage because environmental cleanup is a positive externality and is thus grossly overpriced - the companies cannot clean up since it would take away about 1/3 of their profits and so they would lose out in the competition of capitalism and probably go into liquidation). See here for a summary of the report. Capitalism, by its structure must destroy the ecosytem to survive. This shows that, under any moral or social definition of the word "work", capitalism cannot be considered a system that works, since its existence has caused the 6th mass extinction of earth's history and may very well lead to the extinction of humanity. For more detailed information on the relationship between capitalism and ecocide see [1], How the Rich are Destroying the Earth by Herve Kemph, The Vulnerable Planet: A Short Economic History of the Environment by John Bellamy Foster, The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World by Joel Kovel, chapters 3 and 4 of Economic Justice and Democracy by Robin Hahnel and The Modern Crisis by Murray Bookchin, as well as [2] and [3], and for a concise source of information about the environmental catastrophe that we are facing see Little Earth Book by James Bruges.


One of the systemic reasons why capitalism must destroy the ecosystem goes something like this: All money is lent into existence by banks. But since banks charge interest the bank might lend me £1 million and get back £2 million, including the lending through a smaller bank to get to me (I'm pretty sure these aren't accurate figures but I'm just giving an example). This extra £1 million has to come from somewhere but only banks can lend money into existence. So more money has to be created. So, as a result of this, capitalism needs to continually grow or it will cease to function. This is but one of the causes and parts of the need for growth that arises from the accumulation of capital (capitalism). Because capitalism needs to continually grow it will have to grow into every area of life. This includes weapons production and exploiting fossil fuels, among other nasty activities. But environmental costs are externalised in capitalist pricing (they affect a third party) and so it is economically efficient to ignore them, and economically necessary in order to keep maximum profits. To take a recent example, the UN has estimated that the damage caused to the environment by the 3,000 biggest companies would cost $2.2 trillion to clean up (they have been able to do it since environmental damage is a negative externality and so is grossly underpriced, and in most cases free, and it is so expensive to clean up the damage because environmental cleanup is a positive externality and is thus grossly overpriced - the companies cannot clean up since it would take away about 1/3 of their profits and so they would lose out in the competition of capitalism and probably go into liquidation). See here for a summary of the report.So, in order to survive, capitalism must put the survival of the human species (and many others) at risk killing many in the process (we are already in the 6th great mass extinction of earth's history thanks to the damage that humans under capitalism have done to the world ecosystem).

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